Love F1. Haven't missed a race in years. I'm one of those nutjobs who actually get up at 5:00am on Sundays just to be up and ready for the live telecast at 6:00. Sure, I could TiVO or tape it and watch it later when I've actually had some sleep (and I do), but there's something about watching it live that I just can't resist. The Australian GP was easy on me in that regard, requiring only that I stay up a bit later than usual to finish the race. Too bad I couldn't make it. I taped it, went to bed around 11:00 last nite, and was up at 4:00 this morning, ready to watch. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit...
So who am I rooting for? Hard to say. I like, respect, and admire ANYONE who can pilot an F1 car at the level that these drivers do. In recent years, I've had my favorites, but this year I'm not really pulling too much for one driver over another. As an American, I love seeing Scott Speed out there, and I'm encouraged that he's doing as well as he is. As an old fart, I like seeing Nico Rosberg (son of Keke) following in his father's footsteps. It's good to see Ferrari being competitive again, and at the same time it's good to see them NOT being utterly dominant. This season, it feels like there are a slew of teams and drivers with the talent and equipment to win, instead of just a few like we've had in recent years. Still and all, it's starting to look like Renault, Fernando Alonso, and Giancarlo Fisichella are going to run away with things - if the other teams don't get their acts together really soon.
Several scary moments in the Aussie GP; for me, the scariest of them all was Michael Schumacher's crash on lap 46. It was just too reminiscent of Senna's fatal crash. It was at high speed, it looked relatively minor (for a major crash, at least), but it scared me. Seeing Shumie's head bouncing around inside the car was unsettling, but it was what happened afterward, when he went to the pits, that really unnerved me. Here was the always calm, cool, and collected Shumacher walking into the TOYOTA garage, looking a bit rattled and lost, as if trying to figure out where he was. None of the announcers mentioned it, so it may just be that he was using the Toyota garage as a short-cut, but walking into another team's garage area is just something that isn't done. Too much proprietery information and equipment there; they'll barely let the camera crews in, much less another team's driver! It all had me thinking that Michael may have suffered a bit of a concussion.
Naturally, as a "Honda Guy", I have to root for Button, Barichello, Sato, and even "Oh-No" Ide. Button is a bit of a disappointment for me; so much talent, yet he seems to be capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. To be sure, his engine blowup going into the final turn of the race wasn't his fault, but it seems to be just his luck. Kimi Raikonnen seems to suffer from the same flaw - great driver who just can't get the breaks. I had high, high hopes for Honda when they signed Barrichello. After all, here was the driver who was routinely the second-best driver in F1 (behind M. Schumacher), in a time when being second best wasn't something to take lightly. With Ferrari's stumbles and missteps last year, I had very high hopes that Reubens' move to Honda would put him right at the top, or at least in a position to duke it out with Alonso. It seems that the new Honda just doesn't suit Barrichello's driving style, though. Where Ferrari fit him perfectly and allowed him to be at his best, the Honda doesn't seem to mesh with him at all. It's a shame, really, and I wish greater things for him. He's earned a better shot at a championship after so many years playing second fiddle to the man who's quite possibly the best F1 driver in history.
And when is Anthony Davidson going to get a full-time ride in F1? He's been among the fastest of the "third drivers" for Honda for some time now, and among the fastest of ALL F1 drivers in the Friday practice sessions. Hasn't he earned a ride? I doubt he could do worse in a Honda than Sato, Ide, or Barrichello have done, and on a good day, he could beat hard-luck Button as well.
Anyway, that's where I'm at for now. For me, the worst F1 race is still a damn sight better than ANY oval race. That might not be the popular opinion (especially in the States), but I'm not convinced it's the wrong one.